So I gave in to the hype. Seeing The Lion King in 3D at the cinema was way too much of an event to pass up. I’m 32 years old and caught The Lion King the first time around (on VHS, those black box-like thingies that people used to watch films on,) and the idea that I was going to be able to watch Simba and pals on the big screen seemed like a great opportunity. For those of you who don’t know me, I spend a large amount of my time hanging out with my five-year old niece. She’s awesome and I thought taking her to see this 3D release on the big screen would give her a huge childhood memory to look back upon.
So on the opening the weekend, September 23, 2011, we arrived at The Grand Theatre in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. We chose the 7PM showing but sadly it turned out that all the seats were bought and paid for. Very frustrating. But the box office guy was quick to inform us that they were opening a second screen that would also be airing The Lion King, at a staggered start time of 7:15PM. Phew! Already, this trip to the cinema was an event! So we bought our tickets, found the 7:15PM screen and settled into our seats. And wouldn’t you know it? The secondary showing of the film also started filling up quickly. It wasn’t jam-packed, but there weren’t many seats to be had.
So the film itself? Well, it was kind of a strange experience. The Lion King 3D is by it’s very nature a rerelease. It’s the same movie with a different spin on it. That spin was a 3D reworking (obviously). So basically I was rewatching a film that I could recite word for word, just looking out for the 3D enhancements. Are how were they? A mixed bag in my opinion. They ranged from the amazing to the barely noticeable. Back in 1994, this film was never intended to be given the three-dimensional treatment and because of this, there are long periods in this movie that don’t really take advantage of the technology.
Highpoint: The beginning of the movie when all of the animals and birds are approaching Pride Rock. It made for some stunning visuals. Especially when Zazu came swooping onto the screen. My niece and I were flabbergasted and tried to reach out and snatch “Mr. Banana Beak” out of the air. Lowpoint: All the scenes that didn’t lend themselves to the 3D medium (which was most of it). Unavoidable, but disappointing.
So what did me and the little’un think of it? We loved it! I love creating memories with her, and she got a huge kick out of this one. So much so that we went back for a second viewing on it’s closing weekend. So yep, we saw it on the silver screen twice. While the 3D content may be a little “here one moment, gone the next,” at it’s very heart it’s still The Lion King and it’s an absolute classic. I definitely recommend going to see it. Which is sad, because it now finished it’s big screen run. You can always buy it on Disney 3D Blu-Ray though.